As a result of the outbreak of Covid-19 and the severe restrictions imposed, many foreign workers in Longyearbyen have lost their income base due to layoffs. Several of the foreign workers in Longyearbyen are not covered by the usual Norwegian layoff measures. In order to remedy the acute and difficult situation, the government has now come up with its own time-limited subsidy scheme for these workers.
The purpose of the subsidy scheme is to contribute to the subsistence for foreign workers who, in an extraordinary situation, are not entitled to unemployment benefits or other benefits that cover subsistence allowances in accordance with ordinary Norwegian rules.
The subsidy scheme is intended to mitigate the consequences of layoffs as a result of the measures taken to limit the outbreak of covid-19, and is time-limited and shall provide financial security for the laid off and their families for a period before returning to work or leaving Svalbard.
The scheme does not provide a basis for a precedent.
Subsidies can be made from the date the employee does not receive salary due to layoffs. The subsidies can be given no earlier than from 19 March 2020.
The Ministry of Justice and Public Security has given the Longyearbyen Community Council the responsibility for handling the subsidy scheme.
The Longyearbyen Community Council is now preparing for the application process. A personal application form and more information about the scheme will be announced shortly on the Longyearbyen Community Council's website.
Longyearbyen, 30 March 2020
Hege Walør Fagertun
Head of Administration